I do not own the Ah! Megami sama / Oh! My Goddess series
"Hey! Move it you two!"
Chihiro Fujimi wasn't fond of slackers. If people weren't willing to put forth the effort to earn it, then she hadn't the time to make the effort to pay them. That was simply how Whirlwind was run. It didn't seem to matter to Tamiya or Otaki, though. They seemed more obsessed with their own strange antics than actually performing the tasks at hand. As a matter of fact, they were wasting their time by slicing the remains of a metal plate, in order to make something that apparently resembled a logo of some sort.
"Forgive us, Chihiro-san!" shouted Otaki, as he and Tamiya resumed cutting a new doorway at the side of her shop.
The two reconstructed containers that she purchased had arrived and the plan was to join them side-by-side in order to create a shop that was going to be three times bigger than the current one. That was the beauty of having a modular building that consisted of steel inter modal containers as a structural element. Not only it was cheaper to make, but it could easily expand at a fraction of the typical cost that would be required for any other type of structure.
Of course, not everyone shared her sentiments. Most people around Nekomi thought that it was only due to the lack of money on her part and others often made fun of her 'small' shop. For the owner of Whirlwind, that was a challenge. While they were partially correct, she wasn't going to stay content with what she had forever. That was the reason for this makeover as it would greatly allow her to make her improve the quality of her business.
The old section of the shop was going to be the sales room where the customers would go in and see some of the products that she had available. Next was going to be the new workspace, where most of the real work was going to take place, with all the tools and the various ongoing projects located there. Right now she had everything on the same spot and that damaged the aesthetics of Whirlwind, with the customers being able to see all the ongoing work on the bikes. While some customers actually found this to be a nice feature, others simply preferred a more clean and professional front for the shop. The last part was going to be the storage room. That particular one was much needed, as there was not enough space before, causing her to waste too much time going back and forth to the various suppliers in order to restock. Keiichi in particular was going to enjoy this new feature, since the new storage room will allow them to have enough parts on site, and as a result, he wouldn't have to waste so much time to make those trips.
Everything would be interconnected with doorways and Tamiya and Otaki were working hard to make the necessary modifications to allow that.
Somehow, when she hired some help to make the expansion, those two ended up being among the workers. They had claimed that it was another one of their part time jobs. Chihiro couldn't help but wonder why they were trying to make so much money. Sure, they needed the cash just like anyone else, but Tamiya and Otaki usually worked this hard when they had something in mind.
That could wait for later, though. Right at the moment Chihiro was waiting for the last modifications to be done and then they could have a crane to move all the three pieces of the shop together. Then all that was left were the final assembly and some interior decoration. She smiled at the thought of finally having a proper shop, at least not one that people would make fun of because of its size.
She had plans to reveal this a day ago, but considering it was Keiichi's birthday, Chihiro wanted him to enjoy it instead of worrying about all the necessary work that would've been involved in the project. His sudden marriage had surprised her and she'd forgotten to tell him and Belldandy anything. At any rate, that wasn't a problem. Despite her reputation, Chihiro wasn't stingy enough to force them to work right after the ceremony. She even gave them a few days off, in hopes that Keiichi-kun would get the opportunity to relax a bit and maybe even take her for a honeymoon. If he could afford one that is.
A bigger shop would've been too much for the three of them to handle all by themselves. Sure, it wasn't that large, but at the same time an extra assistant could really come in handy. That's why she put that advertisement in the local newspapers. Even if the pay wasn't that great, there should be someone willing to take the job.
She was brought out of her thoughts when a loud crash was heard from the other side of the shop's old section. Rushing to see what the commotion was all about, she spotted Tamiya and Otaki standing over the fallen piece of the wall that they'd just removed.
"We showed it who's the boss, right, Den-chan?" asked Otaki while posing dramatically.
"We sure did, Dai-chan! No wall stands before our might!" shouted Tamiya, with the cutting torch in hand, trying to strike a pose as well.
"You knuckleheads! This is a work site, not an action movie! Don't just bring the whole thing down like that! You're going to hurt someone!" shouted Chihiro. As a matter of fact they were most likely going to hurt themselves, since everyone else was smart enough to stay away from them. Especially when they handled anything that was remotely dangerous.
"We're really sorry, Chihiro-san!" shouted Tamiya.
"It won't happen again!" added Otaki.
The owner of Whirlwind shook her head, knowing all too well that they were bound to get into something again.
Urd hovered herself in a sitting position, considering what she was going to ask. It was true that Loki was best known for his infamous pranks, but at the same time, he was an expert with all sorts of magical devices and all types of lifeforms. In fact, he regularly created living constructs aside from the traditional ones. While most avoided him due to his personality, he was one of Asgard's best artificers. Among his various creations was Stringfellow, the fastest magic broom that any god had ever made and even Sleipnir, the eight legged horse that he made as a gift for her grandfather, Odin.
Obviously he had more than enough experience and knowledge in the field; the question was whether she could trust him or not.
In the meanwhile, Loki was happily browsing through her collection of various potions and other ingredients like a kid in a candy store. "That's a lovely collection you have, but I doubt that this is the real reason for my presence here, right?"
Despite his previous antics, her uncle was not as silly as he liked to act. "Yes, there is something that I'd like you to check. Normally, I would've tried to ask someone else, but you're probably the best choice right now."
Taking a panel off the floor, she revealed the wooden box that Lind had given her earlier. "We received this a short time ago and I want your opinion about it. By the looks of it, this is a modified angel egg that my mo... Hild had sent. I've gone through every check that I could think of, but there's nothing particularly threatening about this. I want to know if I'm right or not."
"Well, I hope that you kept some notes during your examination, because otherwise I'll have to go through the same tests all over again," said Loki as he inspected the contents of the box.
"Of course, I though that it would've been the best idea to do so. Especially if I wanted to check something again without having to take it out of its hiding location," said Urd. She reached over to a cabinet where she normally stored some of her alchemical tools and retrieved a leather bound notepad.
Taking a look at the data, the god of mischief raised an eyebrow. "For something so... harmless, you're taking a lot of caution. What's the matter? Afraid that it's going to bite anyone or does it have anything to do with your mother?" asked Loki in a teasing tone.
Urd was slightly taken aback by the question and really tried to come up with some answer. "She's... difficult at times. You never know if she's serious about something or just messing around."
The troublemaker god scratched his head a bit in confusion. "Are you talking about your mother or yourself?"
"Hey!" shouted the offended goddess. "I'm not that bad! Besides, you're the last person in the nine realms to have the right to say that."
"Guilty as charged," said Loki while he let out a sigh. "Though your attitude towards Hild is bit unfair, Urd. She did gave you a really nice body after all."
The goddess of the past retrieved her notebook, and without a second thought, smacked her uncle on the head. "Tacky comments are forbidden."
"Ow! I never would've expected you to be shy about it," complained Loki while he rubbed his head.
"Don't be ridiculous! I just don't like you making comments about it," said Urd, before she returned the notebook back at her uncle. "Also, I would like to get back on topic, before you derail the entire conversation. Is that angel safe or not?"
"You don't trust my work?" countered Loki.
"What?!" asked the surprised goddess. "Your work?! But it's..."
"From your mother? Tell me, Urd, do you really think that she would've just trusted one of her goons with such a commission? That's an angel we're talking about, not a devil. Also remember that this isn't a routine makeover, but a total reconfiguration at the lowest level. Any mistake would've led to very sever consequences and considering that it was originally meant for you, she didn't want anything to go wrong."
"If that's the case, then why did she send it now?" Urd was unsure what to make of all that information. She had never heard any of this before and it made her wonder just how much she didn't know about her family.
"The specifications that your mother had requested were extremely hard to meet. There is no such thing as a perfect angel, so in the end, I've made something that was too weak since a lot of the basic functionality was restricted. I'd tried to warn her, but you know how obstinate she can be. In the end we decided that it would've been unfit for you, but she wanted to keep it as a memento," explained Loki, taking a pause to consider how to best phrase the next part. "I suppose that she wanted to give it to your brother-in-law as a way to offer him some way of defending himself. He's not going to hide behind Belldandy forever, you know. One day some god might want to bring an end to the silly relationship that he has going on here."
"Why?" asked a surprised Urd. Sure Mara had tried repeatedly to sent them back to Asgard, but she couldn't understand why another god would try to do the same. "That's the demons' job. Why would any of us try to separate them?"
"Hello... Judgement Gate... Whose bright idea did you think that abomination was? Oh wait! Ours!" The sarcasm in Loki's voice made his niece to cringe a bit. Still he was not going to try and hide his displeasure about some of his fellow celestials. "You think that every god and goddess up there is like your sister? We have way more miserable hypocrites than I could even care to count. Think whatever you want about me, but at least I don't try to hide the fact that I'm a jerk. However, there are gods out there that make me look a joke in comparison. At least in the old days we had a good way to get rid of them."
"Get rid of them?" echoed Urd. Somehow the discussion had taken a direction that she had never expected.
"Yes, we arranged a few unfortunate encounters with the demons' special forces for them. I don't think that's it's necessary to mention what followed, right?" asked Loki with a cruel smirk. "Alas, now we have to rely on accidents, but it still works. Well... it's a bit more time consuming, but the lunar prison is still open, if you know what I mean."
"You think that they would try to interfere with Keiichi's marriage?" Urd doubted that any god would have the opportunity to try anything elaborate without being detected by the others.
Loki couldn't help but shake his head. His niece was thinking in a very naive way, assuming that any involved party wouldn't try anything a bit dirty. "There are faster ways to deal with the mortal and it doesn't even involve any grand plan either. You just break his neck and get it over with. Just because your demon friend hasn't gone for it doesn't mean that others won't."
"Is that why you've made that amulet as well? I doubt that the story about that other goddess was the only reason, although I must admit that you didn't ask Keiichi's opinion directly," said Urd. She had expected her uncle to make a lot more commotion from the occupational hazards that Keiichi might have to deal with in his everyday life with a goddess.
"Actually, I had a few ideas, but Thor was likely going to be furious about scaring the mortal. Plus, it would put a damper on your sister's love life, before she even had one to begin with," said Loki with a bright smile. It was a refreshing change to try being the nice guy once in a while. Of course, he had every intention to mess around with the mortal later. "However, you're correct for the first bit. I have made my solution for increasing the boy's survivability in the long run. And your mother had a similar idea, by using that rejected angel. If only we had the one that I've made for your father, we would've a complete set. But we already gave that away. Oh well..."
"Hold it! The one that you've made for my father?" asked Urd. "Since when did he even commission anything by you?"
"Since he had a daughter with a demoness," replied Loki as he rolled his eyes. "Unlike your mother, who wanted a perfect angel, he was a bit more practical and asked for something that could work with your dual nature. The result was a binary angel, but in the end I vetoed its use on you. It would've made your inner conflict even worse than it currently is with each angel clinging to one side and pulling it from the other. After all, it even became too much of a problem for a normal goddess to handle."
"You mean that Lind's twin angels were intended for me?" Urd had no idea that her father also wanted to offer her an angel as well. 'Come to think of it, he never really tried to give me anything. Right...?'
"Yes, although it wasn't my idea to begin with. The last thing I wanted was for her to blame me for all her problems that she may had with them. It was your father that didn't want the binary angels to remain unused forever," said Loki. "At least she got better..."
Urd had to agree that she had gotten more information than she could have hoped for. Still, it raised more questions and didn't allow her to reach to any conclusions as to what to make of that angel egg.
Sensing her hesitation, Loki decided to offer her some advice on the mater. "Look, I don't think that it's a great idea to try and make a decision right now. Just think about it and at some point give that egg to either one of them and see what they want to do with it."
"Very well, I'll do just that," said Urd with a sigh. Despite her better judgment, her uncle was indeed correct. There was no reason to rush it right now. She had the bad habit of acting before thinking at times, but in this case, she needed to approach the matter differently. "You can go back with the others. I need to make a call."
Mara was quietly following her boss as they headed towards Whirlwind or whatever that blasted place was called. She had never given much thought to the place before, but now Hild-sama wanted her to work there. How exactly this counted as a reward was beyond her...
She even had to wear something fancy as well although not in a way that would've made her look out of place from a mortal's perspective. Considering that it was a bike shop, Hild-sama had insisted that going in an all leather outfit was the way to go. As a result, she was wearing a black jacket and pants that hugged her form tightly, while the only thing that she had wrapped around her upper torso was a simple tube top that was completely separated in the front and held together with a series of laces. She even had boots made out of the same material, just like everything else.
The blonde demoness wasn't certain if such an appearance would've made a difference and cause her potential mortal employer to pick her, considering that it was supposed to be a young woman and not some simple minded guy. Unless she was into girls or something... Still, Mara doubted this would work anyway. Then again, she was hard pressed to think of anything better herself.
The child-like form of Hild had swapped her usual miniskirt and sleeveless top with a short red leather dress. Considering her apparent age from the humans' perspective, she caused quite a few heads to turn, mostly in disbelief. However there were a few young girls who wanted a similar dress, much to their mothers' horror.
"Hild-sama. Why are we dressed like this?"
"What do you mean Ma-chan?" asked a confused Hild. "You usually wear something similar, so why is that a bother?"
"That may be true, but shouldn't I be wearing something more casual?" She was by no means embarrassed as demonesses were usually wearing a lot more revealing clothing. It just made her curious, considering all the lessons they gave them back home in order to to keep a low profile while operating in Midgard. At least while they were interacting with humans.
"It's a job that probably requires you to know a few things about bikes," said Hild with a sly smile. "Well? Do you?"
"Uh... they're two wheeled vehicles that use an internal combustion engine in order to move," said Mara in an uncertain tone.
"Anything else? Brands, models and their history, the names of the individual parts?" asked Hild, trying to prove her point.
"Nope. Nothing," admitted the blonde.
"See? That's why you have to look like a biker," said Hild. "It's a little trick to make the others believe that you're like them if you adapt your appearance to their expectations. Imitation is the most sincere form flattery, after all."
"That may be the case... Although, shouldn't I have a bike as well?" asked Mara as she started to realize what her boss was trying to do.
Hild have her assistant a sideways glance. "Are you asking me for a free gift, Ma-chan? Besides we're already there."
Indeed, the two demoness were just a block away from what appeared to be a construction site.
"They must be demolishing it," said Mara in a hopeful tone. "Let's go back, it's not going to be around anymore."
"Oh no you don't!" shouted Hild, as she grabbed Mara's jacked and pulled her along. "You're worse than a kid that has to go to the healer! Act like a fist class demoness!"
The blonde gave a defeated sigh as her fate was apparently sealed.
Meanwhile, the main part of Hild was on her way to retrieve her former lieutenant and current ruler of Muspelheim, before she departed for Jotunheim. She needed to have a chat with Skrymir but having Surt along with her could be a nice touch.
Those two were competitors and having the Eldjotunn present would increase the stakes a bit. After all, it was very hard to intimidate the ruler of Jotunheim. Since Skrymir was such a perfectionist, the typical approach of turning one's failures against them wouldn't have worked, as she didn't have much to use.
As she entered the throne room, she was greeted with a sight that had nothing to do with professionalism. While Surt had followed her instructions and cleaned the room, her visit to her former father-in-law must've taken more time than she originally thought. In the meanwhile, the demon had decided to take a nap. Or to be more precise, he had tucked himself in a sleeping bag in the middle of the bridge that led to the throne.
'That impudent little... I told him to do a job and he went to sleep. Well... he did the job, but still!' Hild had a case of a deja vu as this situation reminded her of a similar one, even if the roles were reversed back then.
Muspelheim, several millennia ago.
A teenage Hild was peacefully having a nap, content that the brats that she had to look after were too exhausted from their lesson to do anything stupid. Despite her attitude, she was fond of all three of them. It just was too frustrating that she was stuck with babysitting some younger kids, while she should've having fun. In all other realms, teenage demons could party as much as they wanted. Not in her home. The elders had decided that it was too dangerous for the youngsters to roam around and had those who weren't old enough to become warriors as their caretakers.
The habitable areas of Muspelheim were the ones closer to the seas of sand that surrounded the mainland. The latter was too geologically unstable, with constant lava flows and volcanoes dotting the landscape, to really be worth the effort to build anything there.
The deserts were also the home of the sand dragons, gigantic snake-like lizards that were more than a mile long and ferocious enough to even kill adult demons with ease if they happened to be unaware of them. It may have sounded unlikely given their size, but they'd developed the technique to borrow under sand and act motionless as if they weren't even there. They were very noticeable when they moved from one place to the another, but they were ambush predators and liked to wait for hours until someone was within striking distance. From far away, it was nearly impossible to distinguish their buried forms from the other sand dunes.
Among all the known species of the fiery realm, it was the only one that didn't just attack them because of territorial aggression. They considered both demons and gods as a viable food source. Without nourishment, they would grow weak and sluggish, an easy prey to the other species of Muspelheim, who would attack them out of fear.
In order to avoid them, the demons generally stayed away from the deserts and even created a perimeter of giant columns that were buried deep under the sand, preventing any of them to break though. In between, there were several minefields to deal with any type of intruder. Unfortunately, that didn't stop some kids from wondering around and that was the reason why they had them under constant supervision, as demons were troublemakers by nature.
As a result, Hild enjoyed every opportunity she had in order to relax a bit. Her home was not very big and like most others', it was mostly built underground like a bunker. This didn't just make it safer, but it kept it cool as well. Shafts allowed the light to come down and provide some natural source of illumination, aside from the artificial ones and most of the interior was covered in panels made from a lightweight ceramic material that resembled the color of sand. The only exception was the floor where the dark volcanic rock was used.
Her house consisted of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen area and a bath. The latter was considered quite a luxury in Muspelheim, especially if it had more than a simple shower. While the number of rooms was not bad, everything was much smaller than what most other demons in other realms had. However the primary reason was that the real material underneath the decorative panels was demonite, an alloy that they used to build weapons and even their ships. This turned their homes into vault-like structures that could take quite a beating before they gave way, unlike most structures that could be found anywhere else, with the exception of military installations.
One of the bedrooms was hers and the other was used by the young demons she was supervising. However, it had proven to be too small for all three of them and eventually she agreed to take one of them in hers. Two of them were siblings and wanted to remain together; that left Surt to stay with her, who loathed the situation with a passion. Not only did she love to pull pranks on him, but he was naturally the one that had to wake her up, a job that was surprisingly a lot trickier than it should've been.
'Is she completely deaf?' thought the young Surt as he looked over his shoulder from his makeshift bed. The noisy device was trying to get its owner's attention, but Hild was peacefully asleep despite the commotion.
Since it was hard for him do the same, he got up and shut the device in her place. Once again, he was the one left with the task to wake her, so he apprehensively approached the sleeping demoness. Considering that sound didn't do a thing, he decided to shake her arm, only to cause her to smack the top of his head.
'What does she think I am? Her alarm clock?' thought Surt. Even worse, Hild had decided to turn around in her bed and continued to snooze as if nothing was wrong. Shaking her by the shoulder had no noticeable effect either. Unfortunately, the young demon had sometimes a bit of a temper that made him make some stupid decisions and this was one of those cases. Raising his foot, he aimed at the sleeping form of his caretaker and gave her a sharp kick.
Then all hell broke loose.
As silly as it may have been, Hild had never really returned the favor. After all, he was the only one that was either brave or foolish enough to literally kick her rump. While it hadn't been enough to even bruise her, she always wanted to get her revenge, as childish at it may have sounded. Plus, she was wearing high heels as well.
Before she even had the chance to get any closer to him, the Eldjotunn's combat training kicked in, causing him to wake up as a response to the sudden presence.
"Who's there?" asked the half asleep demon, who eventually realized that it was his boss. "Oh! You're back!"
The Daimakaicho quietly swore, having being caught before she had the opportunity to get even with him, but decided to just let it go for the moment. It would've been too unprofessional to try something like that right now. 'Next time you won't be so lucky...'
"Enjoying your nap, commander?" asked Hild in a surprisingly sweet voice, making her subordinate a lot more apprehensive. Given the situation, she was most likely sarcastic, although one could never be too sure with her.
"Yes. I thought that it would've been a nice opportunity to recharge a bit," said the demon as he hurried to get up. "It's not like I had anything better to do right now."
"If you say so..." added Hild with a sigh. There were more important things to do than worrying about a failed prank. "Get ready. We're paying your friend Skrymir a visit."
"Since when is he my friend?" asked Surt, before he realized that she's been sarcastic. It's not like they were enemies either, but considering that they had similar ranks, naturally led to some competition. Still, he noticed that his boss had apparently forgotten to mention anything about his angel. "Say... Aren't going to ask anything about Laevateinn? Or didn't he..."
"Odin told me more than enough," said Hild, interrupting the Eldjotunn. "And I was right when I kept warning you about taking unnecessary risks. But, you're no longer a kid, so I hope you know what you're doing with that... angel."
Surt simply nodded once. "I do."
"I really hope so," said Hild with a scoff. "You should think twice what you're doing or you'll join them in no time."
Reminding him of his two fallen comrades was probably a mistake on Hild's part as it was a touchy subject for the Eldjotunn. They had grown together since they were put under her supervision, but once they became older they joined the Eldjotnar. Unfortunately, overconfidence and a lack of experience had led Surt's companions to an early grave.
If there was one thing that could piss Surt off was to bring that topic up. "At least I didn't put a death curse on me."
That was another touchy subject and in the past had led to another confrontation that left both sides rather sore. "I'm the one who raised you, not the other way around! So keep your opinions to yourself!"
"That's something you can say to your daughter, not me!" retorted the demon.
"I'm your leader and I can say whatever I like!" shouted Hild back, as her eyes turned crimson. "You're lucky that I'm not your mother or I'd be kicking your sorry behind right now!"
"But you tried that very thing a moment ago! You thought that I hadn't noticed you?" asked Surt.
"Yes! No! I mean... don't change the subject like that! I'm the one that usually does that!" complained Hild.
"Well, it looks like I've learned something after all!"
At that moment, the door opened revealing Hagall, who had returned back to report. Noticing the atmosphere, she took an uncertain step back, fearing that something really bad was going to take place in the next few moments.
The fact that both of them were staring at the newcomer with bright red eyes didn't help at all. "I-I h-have done as you've asked, Hild-sama."
The Daimakaicho took a moment to calm down. 'At least Hagall-chan knows how to be nice... Unlike some other people...'
"We're going to Jotunheim and you're coming with us," announced Hild after a short pause.
"Eh?! But Hild-sama, I still have my paperwork to..." started the blonde, worrying that she would just get in the way of a fight.
"Nonsense. Just call Ehwaz and Mokkurkalfi and let them deal with all that fan mail," said Hild dismissively. "We've got more important things to do."
"Y-Yes, Hild-sama!" shouted Hagall. Immediately, she activated her personal communicator to get in contact with the two sisters, while the others started to head for the door.
In just a few minutes Keiichi had found out more about the Norns than all the years they'd lived with him. It was usually bits and pieces whenever something brought a certain subject up. Like the fact that Belldandy was a broom race champion of Heaven and even had a Valkyrie license. He never really tried to ask them for details, although that hadn't been entirely his fault. Ever since he was a kid, he knew that his family wasn't the most stereotypical one and some even thought that they were weird, causing him to avoid asking too many questions about other people's families.
But now he knew a lot more, especially in regards to their younger days. Baldr was the one that was mainly responsible for their upbringing, something that was immediately apparent from the god's personality that was clearly a source of influence for his wife. Urd had taken after their other uncle, Thor, who was also the god of thunder and possibly explained why she loved to throw lighting bolts left and right. Skuld hadn't taken after any of the gods in her family and instead had been brought up by her sisters. Especially Belldandy, who became the role model for her, despite the fact that she ended up playing with Urd a lot more than her other sister.
Most of the talking was done by the blonde god and Belldandy, who had just returned a few moments ago, while Thor provided only a few bits of information. He wasn't very talkative, but Keiichi didn't sense any hostility from him, so he assumed that he mostly preferred to be quiet. Unless something happened or somebody managed to get on his nerves, and in most cases, that happened to be Loki.
"This is very nice," said Belldandy. "We haven't gathered like this for quite a while."
"That's true, it has been a few decades, hasn't it?" said Baldr with a smile.
That caught Keiichi's attention. A few decades was probably more than his entire lifespan at this point but he tried to ignore the thought. 'Come to think of it... just how old are they?'
"We'll have to go soon, though," said Thor. "To begin with, we weren't supposed to be here in the first place and we have to report back. Especially if you consider that there was just a rebellion in Niflheim and there's a lot of paperwork that we have to deal with."
"Are you sure that you can't stay any longer?" asked Belldandy.
"No," said Thor. After a short pause he pointed at Peorth and Lind who were quietly observing the conversation up to this point. "Although, those two can probably can from what I've heard."
"True," said Lind in her typically serious tone. "We still haven't filed our reports."
"Yes, but we can write them while we're still on Earth," said Peorth, who unlike her friend, wasn't in such a hurry to go back to Asgard. Most of all, she wanted to see a bit more of the couple's life, considering that she didn't know how soon she could get some real vacation time again. "But don't you also have to leave, Belldandy?"
"Me?!" said the surprised goddess of the present. "Do I also need to go back to Asgard for any reason?"
"No," said the rose goddess, trying to avoid a misunderstanding. "I mean... your honeymoon. Right, Keiichi?"
The mortal tried to avoid Peorth's pointed look. He didn't know if he was really ready or when he would ever be, but the goddess did had a point. He shouldn't chicken out and let the opportunity be wasted. "Yeah, I guess you're right. After all, Chihiro isn't going to let us relax for that long. We'll have to go back to work in a few days, so we should really be thinking about leaving as soon as we can..."
Suddenly the door opened, revealing Loki who was apparently unharmed and no less cheerful than usual. Meaning that his conversation with Urd had gone better that anticipated, given their typical interactions. "Did I miss anything good?"
"Not really," said Thor. "We were just saying that we have to leave soon."
That wasn't what the god of mischief wanted to hear. "Aw... but we just got here!"
"We have work to do," said Thor. "Besides they''ll need some time for themselves too."
"Oh, that! Well, have you picked a location?" asked Loki, causing Thor to grow suspicious. The troublesome god wasn't usually that cheerful, unless he had something in mind. "Don't forget to attach the amulet, okay? Before..."
"OK! I got it! I got it! I won't forget! And I don't need to choose the location, I've got the tickets already," shouted the embarrassed Keiichi, pulling the airplane tickets out for the others to see. He wasn't going to let the god finish that sentence in front of all those celestials. Especially Skuld, who would most likely blast him to bits if anyone mentioned him doing that with her sister.
The younger goddess didn't look very happy at that moment despite his previous efforts. "Keiichi, those will only help you to get there. You still need a place to stay you know..."
That caused the rest inside the room to blink except for Loki who was quietly snickering. As a matter of fact, until she mentioned it, Keiichi had totally forgotten that they needed a room as well. 'How did I miss that?!'
Skuld shook her head in a very disapproving manner. "That's so lame, Keiichi... You're supposed to be taking onee-sama on a trip and you didn't even make the most basic arrangements!"
"But I'm sure that he can fix this," said Belldandy, trying to defend her husband's dignity. "Right, Keiichi?"
"Of course, Belldandy!" beamed Keiichi. He did discreetly try to take a look at his wallet and the results were horrific. There were only a few 100 yen coins left. His next payment would be in several days, and even then, it probably wouldn't be enough. He desperately needed cash but there was nobody to turn to. Asking his parents or Megumi was not going to work as he had already told them that he had the tickets and admitting he'd forgotten something so basic would make him sound like an idiot.
'What am I supposed to do now?'
Mara stood in front of the shop's door. While all sorts of work was going, she was certain that the owner was likely inside. At least that's what Hild had told her.
The miniature Daimakaicho was in fact standing right next to her and waited for the blonde demoness to knock. "How long are we going to stare at the door?"
"Maybe, she's not home? I... mean... in her shop?" tried Mara with a hopeful look. "There's a lot of activity going on so it's likely closed right now. So, let's go back."
"Ma-chan, that's something you can say after you knock the door and nobody answers, not before!" shouted Hild. "Now, stop stalling and just get it over with!"
Mara cursed under her breath before she raised her hand. Just as she was about to hit the metal surface, the door opened, revealing the owner of Whirlwind.
"Huh?" asked Chihiro. "I suppose that you're not the painter... Sorry, but the shop is currently closed for renovation."
"Oh, that's okay then," said Mara who was all too happy to get out of there as soon as possible.
"Actually," said Hild, "she's here for the saleswoman position."
"Really? I've never expected anyone to show up that soon," said a puzzled Chihiro. She had just made the ad yesterday so it should've been posted in today's newspapers. Still, it was a bit flattering that they came here that fast.
"Well, I couldn't lose such a great opportunity to work here," said Mara who was trying to keep a straight face as her boss was stepping on her foot with her high-heels.
"I wanted someone to assist me with keeping accounts, cleaning the shop and helping out the customers. The hourly salary is 500 yen," said Chihiro. "Interested?"
Daring a glace at her side, Mara saw the red cat-like eyes of the Daimakaicho staring her back. It was simply terrifying how she could even pull such an expression while she looked so small. There was little doubt what would happen if she dared to say no.
"Yes!" finally shouted Mara.
"Oh great!" said Chihiro. "Welcome to Whirlwind!"
"Um... weren't there supposed to be more questions, though? Like previous experiences, skills and so on?" asked the confused blonde.
"With an hourly salary of 500 yen?" asked Chihiro. "I'm surprised that anyone would actually want to... I mean... That's not a problem! You'll learn everything here!" laughed the young woman.
'I bet,' thought Mara, but decided to remain quiet.
Hild was a bit more enthusiastic, though. "Congratulations, Ma-chan! You've got a nice new job! Well done!"
The blonde only managed to let out a whimper. 'What have I done to deserve this?'
Suddenly, the phone behind the counter went off, demanding Chihiro's attention. "Excuse me for a moment! I need to get it. You can come the day after tomorrow to start, okay?"
Leaving the woman and the child behind her, Chihiro decided to answer the phone. Most likely it was just another customer that wanted something, and regardless of how much she hated it, the shop was currently closed.
"Whirlwind, here. Sorry but we're undergoing a... Huh? Urd?"
AN: I would like to offer my thanks to WhoIsAtlas for proofreading this and making the needed corrections.
Additionally I would like to thank everyone that has offered their feedback and support both here and on the Goddess Relief site.
There are several things I'd like to note for this chapter.
The angels mentioned in this chapter were all made by Loki, although, they were commissioned by different people. More specifically, Urd's parents, who wanted her to have the best angel from their perspective. Hild considered that it had to be one with no weaknesses and that's something evident from the way she describes them during the Angel Eater arch. Unfortunately, eliminating those weaknesses made the angel too weak. Tyr wanted something that would've reflected his daughter's dual nature and a twin angel could do that job. However its own creator decided that it would cause her more problems than good.
The nine realms mentioned briefly here are from the Norse mythology. They are: Asgard, Alfheim, Vanaheim, Midgard, Jotunheim, Niflheim, Muspelheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim. Every time I'll include one in the story, I'll also mention the original Norse version in the Author's Notes, as well as any differences it may have with the one in this story.
During the flashback, Hild is the equivalent of a 15-16 years old human (of course she's much older than that), while the kids she had to look after were the equivalent of 11-12 years old humans (again only in terms of appearance, not actual age). In present day, only one of the three (Surt) is still alive and it would explain why he's acting so familiar around her. Especially when others aren't around. Despite the occasional arguments with him (and the others in the past), they actually get along in some way. Let's just say that if anyone else had tried to talk to her like that, they would've been sealed in no time.
The tickets that Sayoko got them, only provided a means to get to the location. Staying there was a different question and apparently she may have done that on purpose to some degree. Trolling or not, Keiichi needs to find some cash really fast.
The part where Chihiro describes Mara's job, is actually directly from the manga where she made a similar offer after she opened her shop and Keiichi and Belldandy took the position. The salary isn't exactly that low, but at the same time, far from ideal as well, so she easily accepted Mara, considering that not many others would've been interested.